Division Three round-up: Louth make it back-to-back promotions

Limerick also on the way up to Division Two as Laois and Wicklow drop

Wicklow 1-13 Louth 2-17

Louth were professional in their endeavour as they took care of Wicklow by seven points in Aughrim to safely guide their passage to Division Two next season.

Relegated Wicklow were unpleasant hosts though, as Louth had to rely on Ciarán Downey to settle their nerves with 1-4 in the first half. Mark Kenny and Eoin Darcy impressed in the opening half for the home side and twice gave them the lead before Downey's intervention.

That goal towards the end of the first half provided Louth with some breathing space and Sam Mulroy got into the action with two frees to make it 1-6 to 0-7 at half-time.


Despite losing JP Hurley to a black card before the interval, Wicklow got to grips with Downey, but Mulroy continued to guide his side after half-time with some well-taken placed balls and one from play.

With the game coasting to a slumber, Kevin Quinn shook things with a goal after Eoin Darcy found him with a quick free to leave three between the sides.

However, Louth lifted it in the finale with replacement Tom Jackson finding the net off the bench to seal back-to-back promotion, once and for all, for Mickey Harte's side.

WICKLOW: M Jackson; T Moran, P O'Keane (0-1), M Stone; Z Cullen (0-1), N Devereux, F O'Shea; JP Hurley, P O'Toole; O Cullen, D Healy, D Fitzgerald; M Kenny (0-4), K Quinn (1-2, one mark ), E Darcy (0-4, threefrees).

Subs: R Stokes for Cullen (48 mins) C O'Gallaghoir for Stone (54), A Murphy for O'Shea (56), A Dillon (0-1) for Hurley (60), C O'Sullivan for Devereux (66).

LOUTH: J Califf; D McKenny, B Duffy, D Corcoran; L Grey, N Sharkey, C McKeever (0-1); T Durnin (0-2), J Clutterbuck; L Jackson (0-1), S Mulroy (0-7, four frees, two 45s), C Lennon; D McConnon, C Downey (1-4), D Nally (0-1).

Subs: M McEneaney for Califf (32 mins), C Byrne (0-1) for Clutterbuck (40), T Jackson (1-0) for McConnon (41), E Callaghan for Nally (52).

Referee: Paul Falloon (Down)

Limerick 1-16 Fermanagh 0-14

Limerick will be playing Division Two football in 2023 after a five-point win over Fermanagh saw them finish second in Division Three.

A virtuoso Josh Ryan display at a sun-drenched TUS Gaelic Grounds saw Limerick on their way to an emphatic victory.

Ryan fired over 1-6 of Limerick's total, 1-3 of which came from play. The Oola clubman was ably backed up by Hugh Bourke, who chipped in with four points.

Fermanagh had made a fine start to the game with points from Ciarán Corrigan and Josh Largo Ellis but Limerick kicked six of the next seven scores to forge ahead.

Limerick then landed what proved to be a killer blow when Cillian Fahy and Bourke combined to set up Ryan for a palmed finish to the net that saw the Treatymen 1-7 to 0-5 in front.

Fermanagh rallied to get that lead back to three by half-time and that was at the bare minimum thanks to Conall Jones and Corrigan scores.

Cian Sheehan got Limerick's first score in 19 minutes to settle any nerves but it was Ryan that pulled Limerick home in the final quarter to seal their spot in Division Two for next year.

LIMERICK: D O'Sullivan; S O'Dea, B Fanning, M Donovan; C Sheehan (0-1), I Corbett, P Maher; D Treacy, C Fahy (0-1); A Enright (0-1), B Donovan, J Naughton (0-1); P Nash, J Ryan (1-6, two frees, one mark), H Bourke (0-4, one mark).

Subs: K Ryan for B Donovan (11 mins, inj), R Bourke (0-1) for Nash (47), C McSweeney for Enright (58), T Griffin (0-1) for Fahy (67), D Noonan for J Ryan (72).

FERMANAGH: S McNally; L Flanagan, J Cassidy, A Breen (0-1); J McMahon (0-1), R O'Callaghan, J Largo Ellis (0-1); R Jones, J McDade; C Corrigan (0-2), D McGurn (0-3), R Lyons (0-1); G McKenna (0-1), C Jones (0-2), S Quigley (0-1, one free).

Subs: B Horan (0-1) for McDade (17 mins), D Leonard for McKenna (h-t), G Jones for C Jones, O Kelm for Largo Ellis (both 54), K Connor for O'Callaghan (67).

Referee: J Henry (Mayo)

Laois 1-13 Longford 2-17

Joe Hagan and Dessie Reynolds were to the fore as Longford maintained their Division Three status thanks to a comfortable win over Laois in O'Moore Park.

The result means that Laois drop to Division Four after a poor campaign culminated with yet another home defeat.

Laois picked up only one point from four home games and you have to go back to February 2020, a stretch of eight games, for their last league win in Portlaoise.

It means back-to-back relegations and a disappointing start to Billy Sheehan’s managerial term.

For Longford boss Billy O’Loughlin it was a bittersweet return to his native county but his side were fully deserving of victory.

Dessie Reynolds scored 1-2 from the half-back line while Hagan hit 1-6, all from play in a man-of-the-match display.

Longford did most of the early running and though Mark Barry struck for a fine goal for Laois midway through the half, Longford made full use of the extra man after Seán O'Flynn was sin-binned in the 25th minute and led 1-10 to 1-5 at half-time.

Laois hit a mountain of wides in the second half and Reynolds got their second goal in the 48th minute to make it safe.

LAOIS: D Bolger; T Collins, M Timmons (0-3), A Mohan; S O'Flynn, J O'Loughlin, G Dillon; K Lillis, J Finn; B Byrne, E Lowry (0-2), D O'Reilly; M Barry (1-4, three frees), E O'Carroll, G Walsh (0-3, one free).

Subs: A Farrell for Dillon (20 mins), S Moore (0-1) for O'Reilly, C Murphy for Mohan (both h-t), B Daly for Finn (50), R Munnelly for O'Carroll (60)

LONGFORD: P Collum; J Moran, A Farrell (0-1), B O'Farrell; Dessie Reynolds (1-2), M Quinn, I O'Sullivan; K Diffley, D Gallagher (0-3, three frees); E McCormack, D Doherty (0-1), J Hagan (1-6); J Matthews (0-1), J Duggan (0-1), O Kenny (0-1).

Subs: PJ Masterson for O'Farrell (44 mins), K McGann (0-1) for Duggan (46), A McGuire for Matthews (53), Daniel Reynolds for Kenny (60), R Moffett for Doherty (67).

Referee: B Griffin (Kerry).

Antrim 0-12 Westmeath 1-13

Westmeath rounded off their campaign with a victory over Antrim at a sunny Corrigan Park, but it was not enough to win promotion due to results elsewhere.

The hosts had looked well in control for long stages but were made to pay for some poor finishing as their five-point lead turned into a three-point deficit in the space of 10 second-half minutes.

Antrim opened much brighter and were three up, but would lose Tomás McCann to the sin-bin on 12 minutes and by the time he returned, Westmeath had drawn level, with Nigel Harte getting them on the board.

When McCann returned, Antrim regained the initiative with four points in-a-row, with two of those from Marc Jordan and Dermott McAleese that could have really been goals, but they were unable to keep their shots down.

The hosts led 0-8 to 0-4 at the half and the lead was out to five when this game flipped on its head when John Heslin tucked away a 49th-minute penalty that was awarded after Martin Johnston's foot block on Jonathan Lynam.

This saw Westmeath burst to life as the Antrim kick-out malfunctioned and a further five points put the visitors a goal clear.

Ryan Murray kicked a couple of points for the hosts that were cancelled out, but would finish the game in the sin bin these were cancelled out as Westmeath saw the game out to finish their season with a win.

ANTRIM: M Byrne; J McAuley, R Johnston, P Healy; D Lynch, M Johnston, D McAleese (0-1); M McCann, K Small; T McCann, M Jordan (0-1), R McCann (0-2, two frees); R Murray (0-3, one free), P Shivers (0-3), C Murray (0-2, one mark).

Subs: P McAleer for Tomás McCann (h-t), J Gribin for D Lynch (58 mins), J Laverty for M Johnston, O Eastwood for P Shivers (both 62), E McCabe for M Jordan (64).

WESTMEATH: J Daly; J Smith, K Maguire, J Gonoud (0-1); D Giles, N Harte (0-1), D Lynch; J Lynam, S Duncan; R Connellan (0-1), R O'Toole (0-1), S McCartan; L Dolan, J Heslin (1-5, 1-0 pen, three frees), A Gardiner (0-1).

Subs: K Martin for S Duncan (5 mins), L Loughlin (0-2) for L Dolan (h-t), K O'Sullivan for K Martin (64), B Kelly for A Gardiner (70+1), R Forde (0-1) for J Lynam (70+4).

Referee: James Molloy (Galway).